Pilot recruiter Benjamin Hardy enjoys riding his bicycle around his home town of Dallas. “Biking is my world,” Hardy says. Not only is he an avid rider, but his bicycle is also his main form of transportation. At the suggestion of a friend, Benjamin decided to challenge himself for a good cause and ride 545 miles down the California coast for the annual AIDS/LifeCycle® ride.
The AIDS/LifeCycle® ride was held June 3 through 9 with riders beginning their journey in San Francisco and ending their seven-day ride in Los Angeles. The annual event benefits the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center to raise awareness concerning the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Monies raised fund services such as HIV testing, prevention, care and more.
Even though Benjamin is a routine bicycle rider, he was nervous about participating for the first time with 4,000 other cyclists and biking 75-100 miles each day through mountainous terrain on a route that most people take via airplane. “I trained for the distance but living in Dallas, it is not easy to find hills or mountains to train on,” said Hardy. The terrain proved to be his biggest challenge.
“I’m so excited that I was able to participate in this ride and feel proud knowing that I personally helped two organizations that do so much good for their community,” said Benjamin. “This event may not take place in my home community of Dallas but it is my community.”
Benjamin’s team of three was sponsored by Piedmont and the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA). Every night, they slept in tents along the route, enjoyed the camaraderie with other riders, made new friends and appreciated the support received from the small towns along the way.
As part of his participation in the ride, Benjamin raised over $5,000. To put that amount into perspective, $5,000 raised will provide a full year of laboratory testing for 11 patients.
Thank you, Ben for taking on the challenge and cycling in the AIDS/LifeCycle® ride!